When you’re in your twenties, finding a balance between a social life and your bank account is always a struggle. Rolling one week and broke the next.
For me, every weekend was a monetary trade-off. Taxi fare instead of expensive pre-drinks, a gift instead of new shoes, door entry instead of a fancy cocktail. I would have to sacrifice one thing for another and turning down an invitation was rarely an option, especially if it was a good friend’s birthday.
I always wished that my poor financial status was an excuse to RSVP ‘No’. But unfortunately, when you’re penniless, it doesn’t exempt you from birthdays, weddings, baby showers or any other celebration for that matter. And from having to bring a present.
So I got crafty. And I don’t mean in a literal sense.
Embarrassingly (and unbeknownst to my friends), I learnt a way to afford it all: The art of re-gifting.
I know what you’re thinking. But when times are tough and you’re committed to three 21sts on one weekend, you’ll be thanking me.
1. Make sure your stock is up
Keep everything – from freebies scored at a shopping centre to birthday presents that missed the mark. One man’s trash could be another man’s treasure.
All those candles that seem to be multiplying are more than suitable to re-gift for your sister’s best friends’ house warming!
2. Keep it clean
No one wants to receive a used gift (unless it’s a vintage Gucci T-shirt). So if you do receive a present and intend to regift, it’s important to preserve its current condition. Leave it in the box and make sure it isn’t exposed to too much dust or light.
3. Choose wisely
Word to the wise: be careful to choose the right gift for the right person. Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for the person you’re giving it to.
For example, not everyone want’s a Body Shop care pack. Maybe save that one for the office Kris Kringle, where a generic gift is completely acceptable.
4. Be timely
Make sure the gift you're giving isn’t something you’ve recently posted on Insta or have just received. People are clue-y and, especially if you’re active on social media, they will know what you're up to.
5. Spend on packaging
If you’re not going to spend on the gift, you should at least pull the purse strings for the wrapping. Just because you think the item isn’t worth keeping, doesn’t mean it has to look like it. Presentation is everything.
6. Get rid of the re-gift guilt
A gift is still a gift isn’t it? Even if you didn’t actually buy it. You’re not a cheapskate, you’re a babe on a budget. So move on.
And lastly, remember gifts are meant to be enjoyed. Only re-gift if you think the receiver will actually enjoy the present. Don’t do it simply for the sake of giving a gift. If you have the budget and don’t already own a gift the person would want, buy them one.
Illustration by Twylamae.